I’ve been really excited to share a behind the scenes look at what goes into the making of these pieces. Most people don’t realize how this style of jewelry is made and I am happy to give you all a peak into this world.
What I love about this work is being able to turn a sketch into a tangible three-dimensional piece using recycled metals from this earth. This style of jewelry making is called the Lost-wax casting method. It is the process of casting metal into the exact sculpture of an original wax carving. This method of jewelry making is 1000s of years old and feels quite magical. There are many steps to this process but I’m going over my basic steps; how I get the piece from concept to your door step.
Sketch and create; I often think/dream up ideas and sketch them out, it helps to see ideas on paper before diving into carving. Carving wax is really like creating a 3D sculpture. It is a very meditative experience for me that requires a lot of patience, and a lot of precision. I use a hot tool pen which is essentially like a little welding pen to burn and melt wax into the shapes that I want and use my fingers and tools to carve, shape, and alter the wax further into the desired look. This step takes the longest as it is delicate and sensitive. Literally the exact shape of wax will become metal so I need to be sure that I am happy with the final wax before casting. A lot of jewelry is developed digitally now which is how you get that ‘perfect’ look you see typically. I personally love the way it looks and feels to have something hand carved and I believe it gives off a different energy and message.
Casting and finishing; I take all my original wax pieces to DTLA where a company I have worked with since day one casts all of my waxes into metal. This is a pretty cool process and I certainly don’t have the facilities or equipment to do this by myself so outsourcing it has been the best option. They take my waxes and cast them into recylced bronze (or any metal requested) by essentially creating a mold around my carved piece and then melting my wax away as they fill the exact space with metal. It is a multi-step intensive process in and of it self.
After the casting process they need to be finished and polished. I take everything to Vartan, the nicest man who has also been helping me since day one. Where he cleans and polishes all my pieces. He also helps me with solder on ear posts and smooth out any rough edges.
Assemble and set stones; I source all my chains, fixtures, and gemstones in DTLA as well. I like to keep everything close to home so I can work with local vendors and hand select everything I make to assure it is the best quality. I love picking up new gems and dreaming up future pieces for all the amazing stones I see. I take everything back to my studio to assemble and set stones. I then leave the stones setting overnight to ensure they are secure.
Wrapping and shipping; I wrap each piece using locally printed cards and tissue paper. I make sure to never use unnecessary plastic during the shipping process as well as keep branded materials to a minimum since invoices and receipts can be sent via the web now and save trees. :) I aim to reduce waste and keep things simple and clean. The final step is taking everything to the local post office and sending it off to your homes to love and cherish forever.